The problem with pregnancy is that it does tend to throw you a little off your stride when it comes to running. Whether you decide to keep pounding the trails with your bun in the oven, to just slow down a little or to back off completely, for most of us mere mortals it’s likely that we’ll have to stop – at least for a little while. And while there are those who keep running until they’re about to drop, I’ve yet to meet anyone who has arrived at the maternity unit in their Salomons, had a baby and galloped back out again with a babe in arms.
Add to this the time and energy that your tiny human consumes, the general zombie state that you’re in due to all-night partying with baby and of course the physical recovery, and its easy to see why some of us find it hard to pull on the kicks and hit the trails again post-pregnancy.
Lying in the recovery room after my second C-section, I wondered how I would ever walk again, let alone run, and that was before the pain meds had worn off. After my first baby I couldn’t wait to get back out on the trails again, but dutifully waited the mandatory eight weeks before bolting out the front door for my first run. This time was different. It took me three weeks to be able to stand up straight and running seemed like a distant dream, something to look forward to in a few years time. Sure, it took double the amount of time this time, but four months after Oscar arrived I was given the green light. The wait was worth it. Being back in the game felt incredible and I finally felt ready - despite operating on a daily average of three hours sleep and seven large mugs of filter coffee. The feeling of running again on snowy trails, the cold, fresh mountain air and music in my ears instantly soothed my tired, anxious brain and reminded me how important it is to take time like this for me and only me.
Now, seven months post baby and with marginally more sleep, I have a few tips and tricks for getting moving again post pregnancy.
Get the green light
Step one - make sure you’re ready physically. There’s no point in risking damage or injury by starting again too soon. Your midwife or doctor will be happy to check and advise you and will even give you tips on how to run. Seriously – no heel striking post-baby – your pelvic floor will thank you!
Seize the moment
When the moment arises and your baby is in good hands, go! Forget the hoover and ignore the pile of dirty plates in the kitchen. Grab your moment, your music and get out.
Ignore your brain
If you’re anything like me, your brain will automatically present you with a million reasons not to run, ranging from the raisins that need to be extracted from the car seat to the possibility of a hurricane hitting. Ignore it and go.
Use your family & friends
If there is help on offer that will allow you even 20 minutes to run, take it. If there’s none on offer, ask for it! Family and friends will often be super keen to help out and most will be glad to see you getting some much needed me-time!
Find your tribe
This is a big one. For various reasons, I thought I’d lost my running buddies and my motivation took a dive because of it. Turns out, life happens and people’s lives change, so if your free time doesn’t match with your old buddies, look around for other mums who’s lives may have more symmetry with yours. Often you’ll find running groups nearby and if not, start one!
Go out regardless
So it’s raining? Bad excuse. Grab your jacket and go. You’ll feel even better for getting out and battling the elements.
I mainly do this with food/chocolate/wine.
Set a goal
Consider entering an event or race. However big or small the event, chances are it’ll get you out and training on a more regular basis to make sure you’re ready. Run your race and enjoy the moment. You’re a superhero - don’t ever forget it.
These are just my thoughts and experiences, what were yours? Everyone has their own journey with pregnancy and parenthood and personally, I’m a big fan of talking about it. Feel free to comment, share and discuss!
Written by the lovely - Laura Wilson North who is a fantastic mum, excellent runner and all round wonderful person!
thoughts, feelings and tribulations about running by runners.